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Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Color me surprised.
No, you'd better make that "shocked."
When I first decided to check out a new gaming store in my little burg, it was at the suggestion of a potential gaming buddy. We've been trying to figure out when and where to host a game for months now, and he told me that an acquaintance of his stumbled across this place called The Gamers Realm. "It's perfect," he said.
So, I went to check it out. What did I find? Read on for more.
I almost didn't make it to the store, to tell you the truth. In part because I only took the time to vaguely check its location on Google Maps, and partly because it's tucked away without a big, giant sign as a beacon. But, what really made me miss it on my first pass was the fact that there were about 30 cars in front of this little storefront in an otherwise-empty parking lot. I didn't think there was any way that this little clump of activity had anything to do with a store catering to geeks and nerds, my own people.
Once I figured out it wasn't a late-night telemarketing company or a secret suburban opium den, I got close enough to see the sign. Score one for The Gamers Realm. Clearly I had misunderestimated this small wonder, this Little Engine That Could of the gaming world. So, I found a parking spot, approached the building, and stepped through the door.
Shocked, again. This is no little store. It's huge! At least, it's huge compared to my brain's default setting for the dilapidated, dark, musty gaming shops with which I have become acquainted. Spread before me was a well-lit space with polished concrete floors, on which stood racks of board games, pewter minis, fantasy-styled jewelry, and display cases featuring the top quality wares. What was even more surprising were the eight or more tables, around which huddled gamers playing Warhammer and Cataan and card games. The place was buzzing with conversation and laughter and declarative statements regarding the actions or armies on carefully-constructed terrain boards.
The whole place is decorated in a Steampunk theme. Scattered across the store, on shelves and in glass displays, were displayed old hardback books and unusual clocks with gears showing. There were gold-plated compasses and goggles. I gather that many of the items are for sale, particularly the elaborate Steampunk firearm models, but I didn't catch the name of the designer/artist. They did have schematics for these fantasy devices posted up, though, which was very cool.
As I began to wander, I was met with at least one familiar aspect: the people. Filling the tables and milling about were all of the familiar faces one might see at any convention or comic shop. Almost all were guys, all of them very into their games, sporting pony tails and suspect facial hair and black t-shirts adorned with clever phrases. To complete the picture, you even had your younger gamer nursing his crush on the cute girl working the front counter, chatting with her as she sweetly listened, looking only a little bored.
I spoke to said cute girl, and got the low down on open gaming and when might be a good time. It looks like I'm out of excuses, and will be frequenting The Gamers Realm to throw dice a few times a month. Maybe I'll even grow a pony tail. Probably not, though.
Check them out, and let them know you heard about them on Jason Richards cannot be trusted.
The Gamers Realm